Senate Bill 185 and House Bill 315 in Massachusetts under the title, "An Act Relative to Advancing the Profession of Interior Design," are currently in motion. If passed, these bills would enable qualified commercial interior designers to register as professionals in MA (visit IIDA NE's Advocacy page for additional insight on the bills). The passage of these bills would not change the scope of practice for interior designers but instead create a formalized licensing process to regulate the work they are already doing.
If passed, the bills would establish requirements for optional licenses and who may use the term “Registered Interior Designer” in MA. (An interior designer would be eligible after passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, meeting the Continuing Education Unit (CEU) requirements determined by the state, completing the full-time diversified verifiable professional experience, and paying the application and/or renewal fee.)
Bergmeyer enthusiastically supports this legislation and the recognition of commercial interior designers as licensed professionals. We invite the MA community to join us in supporting MA Senate Bill 185 and House Bill 315 throughout the legislative process.
I think the passage of this act is important because anyone with a good eye can pick out furniture and finishes to make a space look nice, but understanding how to design for the safety, health, and well-being of a space's users is critical in the commercial realm of interior design; it's a responsibility that should only be given to those who can uphold it. Additionally, it will help to restructure how the profession is perceived by the greater public, allowing firms like Bergmeyer to be held with the regard it deserves. Changing the perception of the role of a commercial interior designer is something that is reliant on legislation like this.
The act's passing represents the public acknowledgment of commercial interior design as a professional career and the knowledge/skills interior designers have to succeed. Often the public views interior designers as "interior decorators," and we only decorate 10% of the time.
One of my fellow Principals and co-owners, a certified interior designer, is unable to sign her own interior design services contracts for projects in Massachusetts that require a building permit. This is because Massachusetts requires those contracts be executed by a registered professional. Furthermore, she is unable to seal her own construction documents when the scope of those documents is limited to interior design, an area of practice in which she was educated, trained, and tested. Currently, these drawings must be prepared under the "responsible control" of a licensed architect. This situation often confuses our clients, who struggle to comprehend why the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not fully recognize commercial interior design as a profession. More importantly, it creates a frustrating limitation on the ability of certified interior designers to practice to the fullest extent of their considerable education, training, and experience. The pursuit of true professional practice remains out of reach for certified interior designers in Massachusetts. House Bill 315 and Senate Bill 185 do not seek to equate certified interior designers with architects or professional engineers. Instead, these bills aim to acknowledge interior designers as professionals in their own right, granting them the opportunity to practice commercial interior design to the fullest extent of their considerable education and training, as quantitatively measured by CIDQ's examinations.
By recognizing the professional practice of commercial interior design in the state of Massachusetts, we can create a more equitable and inclusive environment that celebrates the expertise and contributions of all design professionals.
UPDATE 7/10/23: Contact your Senators now to support Interior Design in Massachusetts!
Legislation providing for independent practice rights for certified interior designers has passed out of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure! The bill, renumbered S.2408, will be considered in the Senate Ways and Means Committee next.
We are now one step closer to legal recognition of the interior design profession in Massachusetts, and we need to keep this momentum going! Now, we ask that you email your State Senator and encourage them to support S.2408; A strong showing of support for this bill is a vital step to establishing a registration process for commercial interior designers in Massachusetts, similar to what a majority of states have in place.
Submitting a letter of support only takes a few minutes. Please enter your contact information, hit send, and your letter will automatically be sent to your Senator. Please feel free to edit the letter to reflect your personal stories about why interior design regulation is important to you. You must complete this form for a letter to be sent.
Please be aware that anyone in MASSACHUSETTS can participate in this campaign, so please share this link with IN-STATE family and friends!